Saturday, September 3, 2016

And just like that....

In spite of this being in my 23rd year working in education, I am always amazed at how fast the first week of school goes. Just like that, it's over!

What a fantastic week it has been at Barre City. Our staff greeted children on the first day not only with enthusiasm, passion, kindness and dedication, but also having had two days of excellent professional development the week before. This year we are rolling out Developmental Designs middle school wide. We know that student success relies on thriving relationships, social and emotional skills and high engagement. Our students learn best when their learning community integrates their need for independence, success, relationships and fun. We are integrating these at BC so that our students truly enjoy their time at school and learning, and have the tools to be the best students they can be!

As I traveled the halls and visited each classroom over these past five days I was so impressed by the positive tone, respectful interactions and community building that was happening between all students and their teachers. I was able to join in a few games of "zoom", listen to 7th graders learning more about a "Growth Mindset", observe modeling of school wide routines and watch a cafeteria full of hundreds of students instantly respond to our school wide signal for attention, "show 5". Our pod meetings were engaging and meaningful. We all worked hard on establishing routines and students were engaged in educational opportunities not only in the core curricular areas and unified arts, but around our school citizenship goals. Our Guidance and Behavior Support staff designed and began delivering presentations to all students about bullying, harassment and being a positive learning community member. We will continue this work next week in our extended Teacher Advisories.

It is impossible for me to capture all of the positive of this first week in one blog post. Our Friday song was playing yesterday as I was walking out of  school at the end of the day to wave goodbye to the buses.  As students were exiting one of them paused. Over the music he said, "You know Mrs. Tolman, I love my TA, I really like my classes and I think this was the best first week ever! See you next week!"  He ran off for soccer practice before I could say thank you. I'll be sure to catch him next Tuesday and let him know that he was one of many, many things that helped to put a smile on my face as I reflected on this first, quick week of school. Thank you to all of the staff, students, families and community members for all they did to make it all come together without a hitch.
6th grade math 
PEAK TA's learning to work together

8th grade science community building 
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PEAK Team pod meeting 
Fifth Grade organizes their "clock partners"

Ujamaa Team Entourage